Saturday, July 11, 2009

Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout from Terrapin Brewing

As I write this, I'm sipping on a seasonal beer from Terrapin Brewing in Athens GA called Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout. I'm drinking it during the wron season, since this is their Winter seasonal, but Florida doesn't have much in the way of seasons anyway. We know it's winter when we have to wear our slippers to get the newspaper in the morning. The four seasons are generally called "Warm, hot, hotter, and hottest". But I digress.

Terrapin's Coffee stout is actually made with coffee, unlike some others that derive their 'coffee' flavor from highly roasted malt. The coffee probably inhibited the head, since there is almost none. The stout poured the color of used motor oil. The coffee flavor is quite prominent, and there's a touch of sweetness as well. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth from the oatmeal. Alcohol is 8.1%, but you wouldn't guess it from the flavor. It does sneak up on you though.

It's interesting to be drinking this because a few years ago I made a coffee Imperial stout as one of my early homebrews, and it was very similar to this. The alcohol level was a little less and the texture wasn't as creamy, but the coffee was just as prominent and flavorful. This is a good beer - check it out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saranac ESB Extra Special Bitter Ale

Tonight I grabbed a Saranac from the fridge - their ESB - which was part of their 12 Beers of Winter assortment. I recently found out that Whole Foods has their 12 Beers of Summer in stock now, so I'm 2 seasons behind! So many beers, so little time... I think this might have sat in the fridge a little too long, because it displayed some of the same flavor characteristics as the Alligator Drool I reviewed a few days ago. It definitely had a sour character to it, which I wasn't expecting. Not as bad as the "Drool", but there none the less. It poured a little darker than I expected from an ESB, and had very little head. The nose had some hints of caramel, which was good, and was also present in the flavor. I hope I got a bad bottle, because it definitely had potential, if it weren't for the sourness.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Homebrewed Rye Wheat Ale

A couple of months ago, I decided to create a unique beer that I hoped to enjoy during the summer. I'm not a big fan of commercial summer beers, because I feel they're usually less interesting and flavorful than beers from other seasons. I had a container of Briess Wheat malt extract and decided to base my summer beer around it. I also had a good supply of malted rye, so that went into the wort as well. I then added some traditional wit beer elements - coriander and orange peel - and came up with my Rye Wheat Ale. It has the citrusy elements of the wheat malt, along with a spicy touch added by the rye. Some hops rounded it out, and I'm pleased with the results. Here's the recipe I used for 2.5 gallons:

3.3 lbs Briess Bavarian Wheat LME
6 Oz Rye Malt
4 Oz Wheat Malt
4 Oz 30L Crystal Malt
.3 Oz Orange Peel
.3 Oz Coriander-crushed
1/2 oz Perle hops - 60 minutes
1/2 Oz Spalt Hops - 15 Minutes
1/4 Oz Hallertau Hops - 5 minutes

I fermented using Safale's new wheat yeast - WB-06 and primed with corn sugar. My only problem is that it gets warm too fast in that big glass!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tucher Helles Hefe Weizen

Now this is a true Bavarian Hefe Weizen, complete with the banana and cloves esters that are the trademark of an authentic Hefe. These flavors come from the yeast itself, and they're somewhat unique to this style. As you can see, it also has the huge fluffy white head and cloudy appearance that is also traditional for this style. Tucher is a German Brewery, in case you hadn't guessed. This made for an excellent summer brew.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Higland Brewing - St. Terese's Pale Ale

Today, I tried a beer from an assortment pack that I bought at Whole Foods. The assortment was from Highland Brewing in Asheville, NC. This is St. Terese's Pale Ale. I'm not sure who St. Terese is, and why she is honored with her own beer, but at least it's a GOOD beer. The Highland Brewing web-site describes it like this:

"A golden pale having a slightly malty body balanced by an assertive American hop flavor. This pale ale displays a delicate hop nose due to the process of dry hopping. A crisp and refreshing beer perfect for any occasion."

I definitely agree with the assertiveness of the hops. When I took my first sip, I had to look at the bottle again, thinking I had picked up their IPA instead of the pale. I was surprised to see that I hadn't made that mistake. This was an excellent beginning to the assortment. I'm looking forward to the other 5 varieties that await me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Ruben & The Jets" from Lagunitas

Someone at Lagunitas is a BIG Frank Zappa fan. They've created numerous brews in honor of Frank Zappa's albums. This one is "Ruben & The Jets", a "BoppaDooAyDoo" style ale, according to the label. It's a big rich, sweet ale with an alcohol content of 8.6% abv. It poured a deep brown, with some ruby highlights. The head was small and disapeared very quickly. The flavor had plenty of highlights from dark fruit, brown sugar and caramel. It finished with a strong hoppiness that nicely offset the sweetness. Lagunitas does a good job with these bigger beers. I have a couple of other varieties in the fridge for the future.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Alligator Drool Beer - Florida

Today's beer is rather unique because it's a special beer brewed under contract for a local Orlando hotel chain. I really wanted to like this beer because it's brewed for the Rosen chain of hotels, and I have a lot of respect for Mr. Rosen, a very successful entrepreneur and an all-around good guy. Unfortunately, his beer has left me underwhelmed. I know he had nothing to do with the brewing of it, but I'm sure he must have approved it. It poured a nice amber color, with a small white head. So far, so good. The nose had a sour, almost vinegar-like character. That sour character followed through to the flavor as well. I almost think the beer was exposed to some conditions that spoiled it. I can taste some hops, but the sourness is very distracting. Unfortunately, I paid a lot of money for a six-pack of this, so I guess I'll be working my way through it. Maybe the next bottle will be better - but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michelob Porter

A couple of months ago, Anheuser-Busch had a promotion on Michelob, which consisted of a $15.00 rebate if you bought 4 six-packs. Now, I'm not a huge fan of A-B, and I rarely buy 6-packs, but this promotion appealed to my inner cheapskate. (My family would tell you that I don't have an inner cheapskate. It's very much out in the open. But I digress...) At any rate, a rebate of more than 50% got my attention, so I bought the four sixers, just to see what they're doing at A-B these days. To be honest, I'm kinda impressed. First off, I did not get my usual A-B headache from any of the Michelob varieties I have tried. Secondly, these beers are pretty good. Tonight's beer was Michelob Porter. Anyone that's read this blog for a while knows that Porter is my favorite beer style, which is why I named my dog Porter. Michelob's version of a Porter is nicely roasty, and quite dry. It has some chocolate flavor, but not sweet chocolate. It's probably a bit more carbonated than it should be, but it wasn't distracting. It poured a deep brown, with a small cream-colored head that dissipated pretty quickly. I enjoyed this beer, and I'm not concerned about having a full six-pack of it. The best part of this whole Michelob experiment is that the company was very prompt in getting my rebate to me. Kudos to Anheuser-Busch. I have a number of other varieties I'll be talking about in the near future.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sorry for the absence....

Again, I find myself back at the keyboard, apologizing for my disappearance from this blog. Life has been challenging for my family and me this year, and I found I was writing this blog out of a sense of commitment, rather than for my enjoyment. I think I'm at a point where I would like to get back to it. I may not post every day, but I will be visiting here more frequently.

Unibroue Ephemere Apple Ale

Unibroue, a brewery based in Chambly, Quebec, Canada brews a plethora of Belgian inspired beers, each of which is unique in its own way. Today's beer is Ephemere Apple, a light summer brew, made with apple juice, coriander, and Curacao (a type of orange). At 5.5% alcohol by volume, it's a tad stronger than the "normal" summer beer, but lighter than many of Unibroue's other offerings. It poured the color of apple juice, with a long-lasting but small white head. The beer is quite effervescent, which makes it nicely thirst-quenching. The apple juice is quite obvious, and makes the beer taste almost like a cross between a witbier and a cider. Hops are very subdued, but the coriander and orange peel give it a Belgian Wit character. Unibroue has also brewed peach, strawberry, cranberry and raspberry versions of this ale. This came in a 4-pack from World Market called the Unibroue Taster Pack. Also included in the pack was a bottle of Chambly Noire, Blanche de Chambly, and Raftman. I'm looking forward to checking them all out.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mad River Steelhead Double IPA

I'm a sucker for colorful labels, so this one caught my eye. Since it was also a Double IPA, I figured I couldn't lose. As far as Double IPA's go, this one is relatively mild. It's from Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake, CA, and I've sampled a number of their beers over the past couple of years. The beer poured a cloudy amber color, and had plenty of yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle. It's definitely maltier and higher alcohol than a standard IPA. The sweetness of the malt was offset by citrusy, piney hops. The finish was decidedly bitter with an alcohol kick. This was very enjoyable.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tommyknocker Imperial Nut Brown Ale

It seems that "Imperial" is becoming the buzzword of the craft beer industry these days. I posted about an Imperial ESB a short time ago, and now I have an Imperial Nut Brown Ale from Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs, CO. This is a high octane version of their Maple Brown Ale, which I reviewed in an earlier post. This beer poured a deep brown with no discernible head. Mouthfeel is medium, and the first sip is emphasized by the higher alcohol level - 9%. This is a sweet malty beer, with a woody character from the maple. It has a lingering alcohol finish. I enjoy these Imperial ales, as I tend to brew higher alcohol beers that push the limits as well.

A Clever Stella Artois Commercial

Here's a clever commercial from Stella Artois, with a James Bond feel to it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lost Coast Winterbraun Ale

While perusing the beer aisle at Whole Foods, I discovered this bottle of Lost Coast Brewery's Winterbraun Ale. I like brown ales, and I like winter beers, so it was a natural. It poured a deep brownish red with a small beige head. The aroma was toffee, and chocolate. This brown is richer, spicier, and more chocolaty than their Downtown Brown, which I also enjoyed. It finishes with a nice lingering bitterness. This was an excellent selection! Once again, Lost Coast has made a great beer.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Stoudt's Oktoberfest

Stoudt's Brewing Co. is based in Adamstown, PA, and I've sampled a number of their different creations. I've always been very impressed with their beers, but the Oktoberfest I tried today is not up to their usual standards. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt, because I know they make excellent beer. Something must have happened to this bottle during its lifetime. It smelled and tasted a bit metallic and skunky. Maybe it sat on the store shelf too long before I bought it. Whatever the reason, I know it's not exemplary of Stoudt's usual high quality.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Open house at Lagniappe Brewing Co.

A new brewery has opened up in Minneola, FL, and last weekend I spent some time sampling their brews. The brewery is named Lagniappe Brewing and I enjoyed my afternoon there. Lagniappe is pronounced lan-yap and the general meaning is to "giva a little something extra". Since the open house offered free beer, they are certainly living up to their name already. My wife and I had an opportunity to speak with Brad, the owner and brewmeister - a very personable fellow who deserves a lot of credit for jumping into a new business at a time like this. I wish him all the success in the world.

We were able to sample 3 different beers - Minnehaha Golden Ale, Afterglow IPA, and Locomotive Breath Porter. Minnehaha Golden Ale (named for a local lake) is a very mild, very smooth and easy to drink ale. It would be a great thirst-quencher during the warmer months, which lasts most of the year here in Florida. Afterglow IPA uses a Polish hop variety similar to the Czech Saaz. It's not an over-the-top IPA, and was very enjoyable. The Locomotive Breath Porter was my favorite - chocolaty and roasty.

The brewery is in a good location, not far off the main drag in Minneola, and the owners have done a great job making it attractive and welcoming. The fact that it's only about 3 miles from my home doesn't hurt either. I took some pictures with a cell-phone while inside, but my blue-tooth adaptor doesn't like me, so...

Check out their web-site at Good luck to Lagniappe Brewing! I'm looking forward to trying out some of their future beers!